At some point shortly before the launch of your new website, a technician will ask you to provide “access to the DNS admin panel” so that they switch on your new website.
In case you have access to your DNS admin panel: Forward those to your technical crew, they will create an A record with the domain name and the IP from your web hosting. That’s it!
If you don’t find any passwords anywhere: Here is how to find out where your DNS can be changed anyway!
Before we start recovering access to your DNS entries, here are three fundamental things for you to know:
- Domain Registrar: A company through which you can “purchase” a domain. The domain registrar lets you connect a domain (i.e. acme.org) to your name servers.
- DNS Service: A company that offers you a user interface for the name servers. You need a minimum of two name servers (example: ns1.acme.org and ns2.acme.org). A name server lets you manage DNS records for a domain. Example: The IP of your web hosting is connected to your domain through an “A” record. There can be many different DNS records, and there are many different types.
- Web Hosting: This is where your website’s source code, database and media is stored. Your web hoster exposes your website to the public via an IP (example: 126.96.36.199). This IP you need to connect to your domain via a DNS entry.
Very often, one single provider integrates two or three of those services. That’s very convenient because it reduces the amount of accounts you need to remember credentials for. Some examples: On exoscale.ch you can host your website and manage your DNS entries but you cannot purchase the domain. Whereas on dnsimple.com you can register a domain and manage DNS entries however you cannot host your website.
That’s great but I don’t know anymore where my domain was registered or where my DNS entries reside!
Firstly, find out the top level domain’s whois service. Example: for .ch it’s Switzerland’s https://www.nic.ch/de/whois/. Make the whois query.
Case 1: You recognize the DNS servers! Find, recover or reset the credentials for the account on the DNS provider’s website, log in and create / change the DNS entry or entries.
Case 2: You recognize the registrar! Find, recover or reset the credentials for the account on that registrar’s website. Log in, if you can manage DNS entries there, then do it, otherwise set up an account with another DNS provider (we recommend dnsimple.com), create the DNS entries there and then change the name servers in the registrar’s account to those of your new DNS provider.
Case 3: You recognize the registrar, but as it turns out, the DNS account is under control by a different entity (such as a third-party service provider). You can either ask the third party to make the required changes or you could ask them to hand over the credentials to the DNS account or you can ask them to transfer the domain to your own account (for example dnsimple.com).
Case 4: You don’t recognize neither the DNS server’s domains nor the registrar’s name or address and you still can’t find any relevant credentials / passwords? Unfortunately you have nothing that proves that you should have permission to make those DNS changes. The only way for you is to find someone that does!